Once again, MAI Basic Four Inc., a Tustin computer maker, has extended its $1.1-billion tender offer for Prime Computer Inc.
MAI's offer for Prime was recently topped by a New York venture capital firm, and industry analysts have been expecting the firm either to raise its offer or drop its bid.
But MAI officials gave no indication Tuesday in which direction the company is heading. MAI has said that it intended to top the rival bid.
Analysts speculated that MAI may be postponing a decision as it tries to work out financing for a higher offer.
Prime, a Natick, Mass., minicomputer maker, has accepted a buyout bid from J.H. Whitney & Co. valued by analysts at $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion in cash and securities. Prime has been fighting off MAI's advances for nearly eight months.
One analyst said he had heard rumors that MAI might be trying to negotiate a deal with Whitney and Prime in which MAI would purchase part of Prime's computer operations in exchange for dropping its tender offer.
MAI's offer at one point had attracted more than 70% of Prime's shares. But most of those shares were withdrawn after Whitney made its higher bid. MAI said Tuesday that only 4 million Prime shares--or about 6% of the total outstanding--have been tendered to its offer.
MAI extended its offer, due to expire at midnight last Monday, until midnight next Monday.